You’re a brave soul if you plan on checking out that new East Village or Lower East Side restaurant this weekend — if it’s full-up, you’ll be turned onto the streets with the entire teenage population of Strong Island. That’s why last Saturday we hit eight spots between the hours of 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. to take inventory — our head counts may or may not hold true this weekend when there will be far less drunken Santas running amok, but we’re pleased to see that the wait has lessened at Momofuku (in fact, there wasn’t one!) and are a bit shocked to discover that Jason Neroni is sometimes pretty much the only person in the dining room at Cantina. Bet he’s counting the seconds till 10 Downing.
Back Forty: 43 diners, 27 empties
Belcourt: 41 diners, 29 empties
Cantina: 39 empties, Jason Neroni sitting at the bar
Kuta: 12 diners, 28 empties
Le Lupanar: 13 diners, 35 empties.
Momofuku Noodle Bar: 50 diners, 5 empties (vs. full house and 40-minute wait at Ssäm)
Solex: 38 diners, 32 empties
Tre: Closed for private party.
Note: To determine number of diners, we subtracted empty seats from the restaurant’s reported seating capacity.